Amplification of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene is found in about 40% of glioblastomas (GBMs) but is rarely detected in GBM cell lines. We confirmed that the exceptional SKMG-3 GBM cell line retained amplified EGFR genes in vitro, and found that these sequences were concentrated on extra-chromosomal DNA particles similar to double-minute chromosomes. The cells contained two other gene mutations that are associated with high-grade astrocytic tumors: extra-chromosomal amplification of the cyclin-dependent kinase-4 (CDK4) gene and a homozygous mutation within the PTEN tumor suppressor gene. Immunoblots revealed very high levels of EGFR, moderately increased expression of CDK4, and no detectable PTEN protein. The over-expressed SKMG-3 EGFRs responded to exogenous ligand and resembled normal rather than mutant receptors. A heterozygous mutation of the p53 gene (p53R282W) correlated with failure of radiation to induce the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21waf1 or an early G1 cell cycle arrest. Although each of these gene mutations occurs in GBMs, SKMG-3 cells had an unusual genotype in that a p53 gene mutation co-existed with amplified EGFR genes. Nonetheless, the SKMG-3 cell line can be exploited as a model to study how oncogenic EGFR signals in GBM cells interact with over-expressed CDK4 and loss of PTEN to confer the malignant phenotype.
- Epidermal growth factor receptor
- Tumor cells
- p53 gene
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience